The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"It's history that reads like a race-against-the-clock thriller." ―Harlan Coben
Daniel Stashower, the two-time Edgar award–winning author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, uncovers the riveting true story of the "Baltimore Plot," an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War in THE HOUR OF PERIL.
In February of 1861, just days before he assumed the presidency, Abraham Lincoln faced a "clear and fully-matured" threat of assassination as he traveled by train from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration. Over a period of thirteen days the legendary detective Allan Pinkerton worked feverishly to detect and thwart the plot, assisted by a captivating young widow named Kate Warne, America's first female private eye.
As Lincoln's train rolled inexorably toward "the seat of danger," Pinkerton struggled to unravel the ever-changing details of the murder plot, even as he contended with the intractability of Lincoln and his advisors, who refused to believe that the danger was real. With time running out Pinkerton took a desperate gamble, staking Lincoln's life―and the future of the nation―on a "perilous feint" that seemed to offer the only chance that Lincoln would survive to become president. Shrouded in secrecy―and, later, mired in controversy―the story of the "Baltimore Plot" is one of the great untold tales of the Civil War era, and Stashower has crafted this spellbinding historical narrative with the pace and urgency of a race-against-the-clock thriller.
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2013
Winner of the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
Winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction
Winner of the 2014 Anthony Award for Best Critical or Non-fiction Work
Winner of the 2014 Macavity Award for Best Nonfiction
closely guarded secret—“whatever the consequences might be”—the detective knew that this would be a difficult promise to keep. Looking back on that night a few years later, Pinkerton was characteristically terse about the decision: “After a long conversation and discussion, Mr. Judd desired that I should go to the Continental Hotel with him and have an interview with Mr. Lincoln. We did so.” It was now almost 9:00 P.M. If they were going to get Lincoln on a train that night, they had barely two
Allan Pinkerton’s commitment to the abolitionist cause years earlier. The manner in which Mr. L entered the Capital was in keeping with the menacing and troubled state of the times. He reached the Capital as the poor, hunted fugitive slave reaches the North, in disguise, seeking concealment, evading pursuers, by the underground railroad, between two days, not during the sunlight, but crawling and dodging under the sable wing of night. He changed his programme, took another route, started at
probable victims—Lincoln’s Republican supporters—as the “very scum of the city.” * * * BACK IN WASHINGTON, Pinkerton reported Lincoln’s safe arrival to Samuel Felton and others in a series of laconic telegrams. One of these, to Edward Sanford of the American Telegraph Company, declared: “Plums arrived here with Nuts this morning—all right.” Ward Lamon would later grouse that Lincoln had been “reduced to the undignified title of ‘Nuts’” in these messages, but as several of the recipients
societies of which the city boasted, and Davies made many valuable acquaintances through the influence of this rebellious scion of Baltimore aristocracy.” Though these connections proved useful, Hillard himself soon became a source of frustration, as his commitment to the secessionist cause proved to be tenuous. “Because of a weak nature and having been reared in the lap of luxury, he had entered into this movement more from a temporary burst of enthusiasm, and because it was fashionable,”
pleasantries for the better part of two hours, then followed this effort with a speech from the second-floor balcony of City Hall. Once again, the careful preparations of Superintendent John Kennedy were much in evidence. At the conclusion of the speech, a line of officers “suddenly faced outwards,” rapidly clearing a path for Lincoln’s exit. Under Kennedy’s watchful eye, Lincoln enjoyed one of the smoothest days of his journey as he made his rounds in New York. At the Astor House that morning,